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Elementary Morality 29
ledge was sounder than my conscious. I regret some things
that I have done, but not many. I regret that so many
should think I did much which I never did, and should
know of what I did in so garbled and distorted a fashion as
to have done me much mischief. But if things were known
as they actually happened, I believe I should have less to be
ashamed of than a good many of my neighbours—and less
also to be proud of.
Sin is like a mountain with two aspects according to
whether it is viewed before or after it has been reached : yet
both aspects are real.
turns on whether the pleasure precedes or follows the pain.
Thus, it is immoral to get drunk because the headache comes
after the drinking, but if the headache came first, and the
drunkenness afterwards, it would be moral to get drunk.
Change and Immorality
Every discovery and, indeed, every change of any sort
is immoral, as tending to unsettle men's minds, and hence
their custom and hence their morals, which are the net
residuum of their " mores" or customs, Wherefrom it
should follow that there is nothing so absolutely moral as
stagnation, except for this that, if perfect, it would destroy
all mores whatever. So there must always be an immorality
in morality and, in like manner, a morality in immorality.
For there will be an element of habitual and legitimate
custom even in the most unhabitual and detestable things
that can be done at all.
Morality is the custom of one's country and the current
feeling of one's peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibal